What has the augmented and the virtual been up to this week? Gesture control by radar, perhaps full body AR masks and augmented firefighter masks to name a few. AR has been busy this week!
So far gesture recognition technology has been primarily based on image sensors, such as Leap Motion’s controllers. Google’s Project Soli detects hand gestures via radar. The project has now gotten federal approval to be run, since it operates on power levels exceeding current regulations. It also comes with a waiver for users to use Soli aboard commercial aircraft, just like with telephones.
The technology could be matched with current, and future AR headsets and glasses, the tech fitting in a microchip would also make it applicable for slimmer AR spectacle models. Google together with connectivity and chipmaker collaborations, means Soli might be available sooner than later.
A team of researchers from the University of Washington Reality Lab have developed a method of generating animated 3D models in AR using only a photograph. It works by adding a customisable body model to an image and configuring a body map for that model. The system then creates a 3D mesh and applies textures to the mesh to match the body map and adds a skeletal rig for moving the figure. Any picture with the resemblance of four limbs and a head can be tested with this method.
This study will set some of the starting blocks for the research in full body AR masks, consumers only being familiar with face masks through apps like Snapchat and Facebook. Although this tech might not find its' way to consumers immediately, research like this will always be beneficial.
For all those familiar with services like Uber or Lyft, getting into the wrong car, or someone else grabbing yours is more common than you’d think. With more people using these services, it will only add to the problem. For this, AR has been explored to facilitate finding your driver. A patent application from Apple aims to solve this problem using a combination of GPS and visual identifiers. This would mean holding up your phone and scanning your surrounding to spot the right driver. It has even been suggested this technology could apply to locate buses at bus stops or trains at a station.
This patent, among many filed by Apple, of course only indicates interest from Apple to develop the feature, not a guarantee. Remains to be seen where it will be taken.
Augmented reality has brought a game-changer for firefighters operating smoke-filled rooms. The game-changer in the form of an AR display called C-thru, mounted inside firefighters’ masks. Thermal cameras already having been used by firefighters to navigate in both dark and smoky rooms, but when visibility is low or non-existent, they only help for so long. C-thru is an AR solution containing things like edge detection and object recognition as well as recording and live stream to the command centre along with the firefighter’s exact position. Augmented life-saving indeed.
Vuzix, an AR glass developer, has announced a partnership with weather giant Accuweather, with over a billion users, bringing their weather forecast to Vuzix’s AR smart glasses. The weather would in real-time be displayed on the lenses. Although still in demo stage, premiering at an electronics fair in LA next week, it is still a feature promised to be launched sometime soon.
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